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  • The Appropriation of Fixed Capital : A Metaphor?

    Antonio Negri

    Chapter from the book: Chandler D. & Fuchs C. 2019. Digital Objects, Digital Subjects: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Capitalism, Labour and Politics in the Age of Big Data.

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    In the debate on the impact of digital technology on society, considering that digital technologies have profoundly changed the way we learn and communicate, and especially the ‘mode of production’, and remembering that this transformation takes place in an era of capitalist economic hegemony – the hypothesis often arises that the producer is transformed by the use of this machine. There is speculation that the user incorporates the instrumentality of the digital machine. Furthermore, when one recognizes that capitalist production develops its process of value creation by using cognitive labour power (and that this form of value production becomes more and more prominent) the technological incorporation of the cognitive cooperation of workers, seems to become ever more central to capitalist exploitation. Consequently, in the Marxist debate, people have started talking of an ‘appropriation of fixed capital’ by the digitized worker and by the cognitive producer. This chapter asks: Are these simply metaphors? This chapter discusses the relationship of living labour and digital machines. It stresses that digital machines do not determine society and human fate, but can be appropriated by social struggles for the commons. It grounds the analysis of the digital in Karl Marx’s works on technology and fixed capital. It concludes that autonomous spheres of digital self-valorisation can be established through social struggles that aim at advancing social co-operation and the commons.

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    Negri, A. 2019. The Appropriation of Fixed Capital : A Metaphor?. In: Chandler D. & Fuchs C, Digital Objects, Digital Subjects. London: University of Westminster Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16997/book29.r
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    Published on Jan. 29, 2019

    DOI
    https://doi.org/10.16997/book29.r